Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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An extended leave of absence, explained

half fullFor a long time, I struggled with doing regular blog posts. Then, just when I had gotten into a semi-regular blogging routine, wham. The proverbial you-know-what hit the fan.

First, a colleague at work resigned so I was doing double duty filling in for that role while still doing my own job. Then the holidays were upon us. Then we put our house up for sale after finding a house we loved. (Anyone ever heard that selling or buying a house is one of the five biggest stress-inducing events in life? Believe it.) Now, combine that with a personal health situation (nothing major, but still…) and there you have it — all the ingredients for the recipe that makes a blog post just about the last thing on a to-do list. In fact, the thought of writing a post just added to my stress. I felt like it was one more thing I couldn’t possibly add to my already filled days.

My hubby always reminds me that things could be worse and that we are very lucky. Sometimes he loses his patience with me because I lose focus on that. He’s right and I do appreciate all the blessings we have been given. Though, in the middle of times of stress and change, it’s not as easy  to remember that. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easier to see the glass as half empty. So I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on the good things in life, to be more positive and see the glass as half full. Along with that is being grateful every day and not allowing “things” to overwhelm me. Going back to blogging is all part of it, because writing can be so cathartic (if it’s not viewed as a chore). I’ve also gone back to a regular exercise routine and some yoga thrown in a few times a week, and eating healthy and a few other things that contribute to a more serene, happy life.

I’m grateful for the life I have. I feel very lucky to be at a point in my life where I basically enjoy what I do for a living, and am able to pay my bills every month and have a husband who keeps me focused on what’s important, and two dogs who make me laugh every day and show me what unconditional love is. The other stuff is, well, just that — stuff that sometimes gets in the way of things. But we shouldn’t let that “stuff”  let us get sidetracked from what is really important in life.

So here I am, writing my first post in about four months. I’ve also decided that I don’t necessarily want to always write about social media. So you may see some more personal posts thrown in here and there, and I hope you don’t mind. A colleague and friend I’ll call “E” actually made this suggestion to me. She a wonderful writer who has a fantastic blog I really enjoy. All of her blog posts are personal ones. She writes as a way of getting her emotions out and on paper, a sort of therapy; it’s a release for her, a way of coping. “E” went through a recent family tragedy, and right now is dealing with a serious medical issue with a loved one too. She has a lot more to deal with and feel stressed about than me. It’s a definite reality check when you see how much others are facing. It can make you feel silly, really, to think that you’re overwhelmed by things that are trivial to so many people who are going through much bigger issues.

So that’s where I’m at right now, and for those of you who are reading this, thank you for still being here! I hope I don’t disappoint in this and future posts. Because anyone who takes time out of their own busy life to read anything I might have to say is just one more thing I’m grateful for in this life. And of course, thanks to “E” for the encouragement to write this post and get back to this. Sometimes all we need is a little push, and we should be thankful for those too!


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Unplugging, sort of. The benefits of a mini-staycation

Today is the first day of spring, and the last day of my three-day vacation. The reason for this short “staycation” was twofold: I needed to use up some of my earned time bank before I maxed out and also it was my anniversary.

irish dogsOn St. Patrick’s Day, we celebrated our anniversary. Normally we would be returning to our beloved white sand beach where we got married. But last year we adopted a rescue pup. Being the doting dog mother I am, living with the world’s two most spoiled dogs, I find it hard to leave them AND I can’t imagine asking anyone to take care fo two dogs for us. Hence, the staycation.

Now with social media as my full-time job, you can imagine that’s it’s not a 5-day/40-hour a week job. Anyone doing social media marketing knows that social media doesn’t take weekends off. So I usually work every day, although my hours on weekends are minimal. This isn’t something I was asked to do, it’s something I felt I had to do as a best practice.

But when you’re used to posting and monitoring and responding to multiple accounts every day, and you suddenly find yourself with five days off AND you have a non-techie hubby, well, you feel a bit pressured to actually step away from the laptop and the iPhone and just, well, live!

And live I did. And wow, “living” is heavenly! While I didn’t technically unplug, I perused my email and only responded to two work emails, from my director, who I’m actually quite close to personally. I checked my personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, and made myself ignore all the emails and iPhone notifications about Twitter mentions and Facebook posts for all the accounts I manage.

cosmoI went out to lunch twice with my hubby. Yes, LUNCH. People actually go out to lunch and sit and talk and enjoy each other’s company without picking up a phone to check their email or social media pages! I even enjoyed a cosmo with one of those lunches, along with a decadent meal option during a totally off-the diet-lunch at a “bucket list” restaurant. So yes, I felt a bit guilty about making some not so healthy decisions, but I DID NOT feel guilty about not checking my email constantly. I was NOT worried that I might miss a tweet or status update that I had to immediately respond to lest the sky come crashing down. I went to the gym and didn’t look at the time, nor did I read and respond to emails while I was doing a cool down on the bike.

And guess what. The world did not end, I’m calm and relaxed, and I have a clean house and a fridge full of healthy food and a new bedroom set being delivered to a spring-cleaned room, and I curled up and watched a movie with my hubby in the middle of the afternoon…all because I took some time to just LIVE. If you haven’t done anything like that lately, I highly recommend it.

So when was the last time you stepped away and just did some living?


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What a puppy can teach us about social media

On August 31, we brought home a new puppy. He was a rescue from our local shelter, and not quite 4 months old yet. He joined a household that already had a dog, or a furry angel as I like to say. Phoebe is also a rescue, and she’s from Alabama. She is the best dog in the world, her manners are incredible, and she’s so well-behaved it’s almost amazing.

Now enter this little maniac, who we dubbed Blue (Jean is our last name, and he came home the night of the blue moon, so it seemed appropriate!), into a household that is full of routine. As you can imagine, routine went out the window, and all hell broke loose. I had forgotten how trying a time puppyhood can be, with house training and obedience training, and puppy-proofing everything!

As we’ve settled in with this new little addition to our family, he brings us much joy and laughter. And I’ve realized that there’s a lot we can learn about social media from a puppy too!

First, if you’re just starting out in social media, crawling is an option. Just ask Blue. He’s learned that he can crawl on his belly and get to anywhere in the room (video here!) Don’t just jump right in and start running full speed in social media. Take some time, find out the best way to get to where you want to be, and learn from others.

Next, a little humility goes a long way. Be humble. Don’t toot your own horn too much. Admit when you’re wrong. People will respect you a lot more if you do, and they’ll forgive you, usually. So when you make that little mess that isn’t supposed to be there, look sad, tuck your tail, and say, “I’m sorry!”

Remember to take time to smell the flowers. It’s very easy to spend every waking moment on social networks. But it’s more important to find out the best times by listening to your audience and seeing what works best for them. Work around that schedule, and also, be sure to take time for yourself because life is too short.

You’ve got a friend. There’s a lot of people in social networks who are very kind and willing to help and give advice. There are a lot of people who will also answer questions when you’re stuck. It’s all part of being social. So remember to reciprocate. Comment on others’ blog posts. Share interesting information through Twitter. Post on others’ Facebook pages and share their information on your own. Just remember — it’s not all about you in the social media world.

I’m sure there will be more lessons as we continue to raise this little pup.

So for all you dog lovers out there, what are some other lessons we can learn from our canine friends?